*Author's note. Everyone is the same age as they are when you play the game despite Alduin being killed earlier. I know that might not make a lot of sense. Sorry.
**Disclaimer: Everything recognizable is owned by Bethesda Game Studios. Arsha and a few others are my own creations.
***Spoilers: The story follows the Thieves Guild quest line. If you don't want to know what happens, don't read it.
****Another author's note ( I swear the chapters usually only have one up here): This is the revised and edited version of Claimed. If this is your first time reading, enjoy! If not, there aren't any major changes to the story until about chapter twenty seven or so, so you could skip ahead to there if you want, or you could reread it. I'm happy either way!
She had had a very bad day. An important contract had gone awry and she was in a deadly mood. She was very eager to crash into her bed and get the day over with. Hurriedly, she moved to unlock the door, but as she pushed on the handle the door swung open. She had locked the door when she had left last night, she was certain. Moving cautiously, she stepped through the door, drawing her twin glass daggers as did. Her bedroom and kitchen were spotless, exactly as she had left them. That meant that whoever was in her house was either an assassin, which was highly unlikely or a thief after something very specific. She had more wealth than most people could ever dream of, but the only thing worth risking her wrath for was her collection of deadric artifacts.
Silently she made her way down the stairs, stalking toward the room that held her artifacts on soundless feet. Inside the dim room, she could make out the figure of a person bent over one of the display cases. She made her way towards the figure, but they must have heard them coming, for the thief whirled around, drawing their own pair of daggers that glinted in the dim light. The thief, who was a young nord by his build, was tense, watching her with anxious eyes.
His anxiety was well founded, after all, everyone knew what happened when you crossed the Dragonborn. Lips parted in a sinister grin, she stepped into the light of a flickering candle. "Well, thief," she purred, her voice sickly sweet, "why don't you give back what you've stolen and I won't hurt you…much." The thief didn't respond, keeping his defensive stance.
"Very well," she said darkly, "I will take back what is mine," She lunged at him, her daggers flashing. The thief met her blows, but she had the strength of countless dragon souls fueling her. Before long, he staggered from the force of her attacks, and she pushed her advantage. Her daggers slipped past his feeble defense and tore through the armor at his chest, causing the thief to stumble away from her.
She stalked toward him, and as she closed in on the young thief, she saw a flash of determination in his green eyes. Her lips twisted into a grin as she realized that the poor thief thought he had a chance to beat her. She would enjoy crushing that hope, and crush it she would.
The nord lunged at her, but his swings were wild and uncontrolled. The young thief had likely never been in a true fight before. She blocked the blows easily and sliced two more red lines across his chest. The stubborn nord refused to give up, however, instead striking again harder and faster.
One of his blows, by pure chance, managed to glance the Dragonborn's shoulder. His blade barely cut through her armor, but it angered her nonetheless. She blocked the thief's next attacks in a series of swift movements, the man barely managing to keep up with her strikes. Then she shouted, "Gaan Lah Haas!" The thief dropped his daggers, his fingers suddenly too weak to grip them. His knees buckled and he fell to the floor with a crash.
The Dragonborn loomed over him, and she could imagine the fear the young nord must be feeling. Her face, shrouded in shadow and marred by black paint in the shape of the hand, had inspired terror in more people than he could possibly imagine. Her eyes flashed dangerously as she reveled in the feeling of supremacy that flowed through her. "Give me what you took," She demanded slowly, her voice was low and threatening. She could do much worse than this; she could put him in agony far more acute than anything he had ever experienced.
The thief glared at her in reply before summoning enough strength to spit at her. She flicked the saliva off of her face with an angry movement, her blood boiling. How dare this thief defy her! "You should have known better than to mess with the most powerful woman in all of Tamriel!" she hissed in his ear, her voice promising pain.
In a few quick movements, she had cut away the damaged top of his armor, tossing the tattered remains to the side, exposing the thief's pale chest. With her daggers she traced the outline of his muscles, being sure to leave a thin blood behind. As they moved across his skin the enchanted daggers left a trail of sparks, adding to the pain the man had to be feeling. That pain showed in the thief's eyes, but he made no sound. Determined to change that, she grinned menacingly and slashed her daggers across his stomach, just deep enough to draw blood. The thief hissed at the unexpected pain, causing the Dragonborn to let out an evil laugh.
She stood and walked to one of the many cabinets that lined the walls of the room. From its shelves she pulled a small red bottle; a healing potion. She uncorked the bottle and held it out to the thief, who looked at her in surprise before reaching for the bottle. She waved it tauntingly in front of his face before kneeling in front of him and dumping it on his wounds with a sadistic grin. When poured straight onto wounds instead of drunk, healing potions hurt almost as much as the cuts themselves did. Sure enough, she watched with satisfaction as the thief's eyes darkened from both pain and anger.
Standing again, she watched with a slight grin as the young nord struggled to rise. Eventually, he was standing, facing her with that look of determination, now laced with pain, in his eyes. His unsteady feet were set in an offensive position; he still wanted to fight her for his freedom. She laughed inwardly at his efforts, drawing her own daggers once more. He would learn soon that no one could beat the Dragonborn.
Out of nowhere she dashed forward and slashed a dagger at his face. The thief blocked it, but only just. It didn't matter though, as the dagger was merely a distraction. In a flash of movement, she rammed her other dagger into his shoulder. He flinched away from the blade, which only served to deepen and lengthen the wound. The pain must have been terrible, but he made no sound. Instead, he clenched his jaw as his eyes darkened even further. A sinister grin crossed her face, and she wrenched her dagger from his shoulder spraying blood across his arm and chest. Finally, a tiny cry of pain left the nord's mouth as he stumbled backward, clutching his shoulder, the blood seeping between his fingers and staining them red.
The thief was too weakened and distracted by the pain to stop her from rifling through his pockets and emptying them of anything valuable. She let each gem and each septim drop into her hand with lazy motions, as if retrieving the valuables was a task of secondary importance to her. The thief watched each one fall with a bitter expression that slowly slacked as his pain began to drown out everything else. Disappointed that she had lost the interest of her audience, the Dragonborn tucked the gold and jewels into one of her many pockets and then held out her hands and healed the nord.
His cuts across his stomach were the first to heal, then the lines on his chest. Finally, she healed the wound on his shoulder, but not all the way. No, she would let him endure the pain for a while longer. She then turned the healing to herself and watched as the small cut that the thief had managed to give her mended itself before her eyes. Magic truly was an incredible thing.
When she had finished, she bent down and stared the nord in the eyes. "You are very lucky to be alive," she stated softly. "Most of my uninvited guests are not nearly as fortunate. We will see if your luck holds." The thief shivered at her words, bringing a satisfied smile to her face. He was beginning to fear her.
Turning on her heel, she strode toward the door of the small room and opened it. She shot one last look at the thief, who was lying crumpled on the ground, before stepping into the other room and closing the door behind her. She locked the master locked door and also added a strong enchantment to it. She was certain she had taken all of the thief's lockpicks, but she wasn't going to take any chances.
After she had secured the door, she went back upstairs and collapsed on her bed, not even bothering to change out of her blood-stained clothes. The night had been long and had started out very unpleasant, but thanks to her unexpected visitor things seemed to be looking up.
The next day, the nord was standing when she entered the room. His stance was one of hesitant offense. It was as if he wanted to attack her, but something was holding him back. After a few tense seconds whatever it was relinquished its hold and the thief flew at her, daggers slashing through the air. She dodged each of his sloppy attacks and pushed him backward with hands sparking with electricity. He gasped as he fell to the ground, his chest heaving.
"Do not provoke me," the Dragonborn warned him calmly. As if he could do anything to change her plans for him. No, she knew exactly what was going to happen today, and she was going to enjoy every second of it. The thief, on the other hand, might not find it quite as entertaining.
She reached for a clean dagger and some rope that hung from her belt before moving to a cabinet and grabbing something else. She held it up for him to see and at first, he looked confused, but then a terrified light of understanding filled his eyes. He scrambled backward away from her but quickly hit the wall.
She tutted at him softly as she reached out and began to bind his legs. He tried to kick at her, but she put a spell of temporary paralysis on him, and he froze. She bound his arms behind his back leaving his chest exposed. Then she waited for the spell to wear off. It was so much more enjoyable when they could squirm.
She grabbed her dagger again and made a small X on his torso. The cuts were thin and shallow, but they were not meant to be the painful part. No, the pain came when she took a pinch of the other thing she had grabbed and rubbed it into the wounds. Salt. The thief's eyes widened and he let out an involuntary gasp of pain as she ground the mineral into his torn skin. The Dragonborn's smirk grew as the time passed and white and red X's decorated the thief's chest.
She watched as his pain grew and grew to the level that she knew he could take no more. His eyes were beginning to roll back in his head when she finally held out her hands and healed him once again. The cuts mended, but the salt remained sitting on top of his skin. She grabbed a towel from a nearby cabinet, she used this room for storing a lot of her excess supplies and began to scrub the salt off. She rubbed hard enough to leave his skin raw and red.
After several long minutes, she stood and backed away. As she moved she saw the thief's posture begin to relax. That wouldn't do. Drawing her dagger, she leaped at him and grabbed one of his arms before he could move. With a swift stroke, she cut a deep crimson line into it. Then she backed away and watched his green eyes darken even further from the pain. Saying nothing, she turned and left the room for the day.
The next few days went much the same way. She would enter the room, try out a different method of torture, and add a new cut to his arm. She changed arms each day so that they would match when she was done.
On the final day, she decided to change things up. The thief now had three lines on his left arm and two on his right. After today he would have three on each. The cuts would scar, of that she was certain. She had always healed the rest of him carefully to where the wounds would pain him, but not leave permanent damage aside from the ones on his arms. Today, however, she would leave more lasting marks.
She said nothing as she approached the young nord, but she could see a sliver of fear in his eyes. Somehow he could sense that today would be worse than the others.
The Dragonborn stopped when she was just out of reach of the thief. He eyed her carefully and she saw a look of grim determination in his eyes. He was going to try to escape, no matter what. With an evil grin, she put his determination to the test.
Weaving a harsh pattern of glowing blue light in the air, she cast a spell. The tendrils of light solidified into frozen whips that hovered in the air. The nord eyed them warily, but they did not move. Obviously thinking that the spell had gone wrong, he lunged at her with a dagger that he had somehow hidden away. That was when the whips moved.
They lashed out at the thief, mercilessly slashing and stinging every bit of exposed skin except for his face. The whips froze in mid-strike when the nord stopped attacking, too tired to continue. A light of comprehension shone in his eyes, and she knew that he understood. The spell she had cast ensured that the whips would move only when he did.
Then the comprehension gave way to the same determination she had seen earlier. She knew he would attack again. Sure enough, he dashed at her and caused the whips to begin striking at him again. He managed, somehow, to cause one of the whips to dispel, but she only laughed and summoned two more to take its place.
The thief continued to move and fight despite the obvious pain he was in. Eventually, after he was bleeding from dozens of places and could barely stand, she called the whips off. She didn't know why. She had summoned them with every intention to let them attack him until he could no longer move, but for some reason she flicked her wrist, causing the whips to dispel in a burst of frigid blue light.
When the whips dissipated the nord fell to his knees. He drew in ragged gasps of air, and she could tell that his body was almost ready to give in. After all, he had suffered much at her hands these past six days. Yet when she approached and knelt beside him to look him in the eyes, there was a burning passion and defiance in his green orbs.
The sight stirred a deep anger in her. How dare this thief, who was nearly dead by her hands, still defy her! The angry thought caused the countless dragon souls within her to roar their displeasure, and she roared with them, her Voice shaking the room as she Shouted a single word:
The word sent the young thief crumpling completely. His eyes darkened so much from the pain that they looked as if they were solid black and not emerald green. His face contorted in agony and his mouth opened in a silent cry.
The word was the first in a shout of pure torment. One word brought even the strongest men to their knees. Two often drove people insane. Three always killed. The pain was so great that the brain shut down, unable and unwilling to operate.
The thief gasped for breath and his chest heaved. The Dragonborn watched him with unfeeling eyes. She was a little disappointed that he had not screamed. Most did.
When the thief appeared to have recovered somewhat she Shouted again. "Gaan Lah Haas!" In an instant, the thief had frozen. The Shout had drained the little bit of strength that he had had leaving the man was too weak to move. She turned him on his stomach to expose his back and summoned a small, intense flame to her fingertip. Then she began to draw.
She burned the image of an intricate dragon with outstretched wings and fire pouring from a gaping maw. It was centered between his shoulder blades and was the size of her spread hand. The burning symbol marked him as her victim, her handiwork. It was a symbol she left on each person unfortunate enough to be caught somewhere she didn't want them to be. It was how she claimed them.
After she had finished she turned the thief back over and looked into his eyes. They were clouded in a deep pain and exhaustion. She doubted that he was aware enough to even feel the pain, but then he blinked. He blinked and his eyes cleared. The fog was replaced by anger and unwavering strength. The sight shocked her. Here this thief was, on the brink of death, and he still had the courage and strength to defy her in this small way.
She shook her head vigorously to clear it of thought and drew her dagger. She took his right arm in her hand and cut the final line across it. The wound immediately began to bleed and the nord clenched his teeth in pain but stayed silent, either too weak or too stubborn to make a sound
For a moment the Dragonborn, Bane of Alduin and Terror of Men, stared at the lowly thief who was so brave as to defy her. Then she stood swiftly and turned on her heel, away from him. "Go," she said, still not facing him. "I could have killed you, but your strength has saved you. Go now. I will not give you another chance." After she spoke those words, she left the room.
A few moments later she heard the nord stumble to his feet and shuffle towards the door. He collapsed once on his way, but struggled to his feet and made it out of the room and out of the house. She watched him disappear into the gloom, confused as to why she had let him go.
A few weeks later the Dragonborn decided that it was time to disappear. Forever.
IMPORTANT A/N: Guess, what? This story is completed. Finished. All done. BUT, it is not abandoned. I still read all of the reviews and comments I get, so don't be afraid to leave some! Thanks for reading!